Lord Farmer, during an evidence session to the Joint Committee, argued that the Istanbul Convention could be used to bring terrorists to the UK. This was refuted by our co-founder and Legal Director Jane Gordon.
Written by Maya Oppenheim for the Independent
A Conservative peer has argued a pan-European convention tackling violence against women could be used as a “Trojan horse” to bring terrorists to the UK.
The Istanbul Convention is the most comprehensive legal framework that exists to tackle violence against women and girls, covering domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, female genital mutilation, so-called honour-based violence and forced marriage.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron signed the convention in 2012, but it is still has not been ratified – meaning it is currently in limbo and the UK is not legally bound to follow it. The UK is one of the last EU members – along with Bulgaria, Hungary and a handful of others – to ratify the convention.
During an evidence session to the Joint Committee scrutinising the domestic abuse Bill in parliament on Tuesday 14th May, Lord Farmer said: “The tension here between ratification under the Istanbul Convention and the government’s immigration policy. The ratification could be used as a Trojan horse bringing, for instance, terrorists in as a means of watering it down. There is this tension. How do you ensure that ratification of the convention does not undermine the immigration policy we are talking about.”
Jane Gordon, [co-founder of Sisters For Change], a human rights barrister with almost two decades of experience, replied: “In terms of international legal obligations, the UK has already ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and it requires states authorities to make sure that they respond to discrimination and violence against women without discrimination on any grounds.”
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